It’s no secret that the medical marijuana industry is quickly growing, or that the drug’s slow march towards legalization continues apace. Here in California, regulators are treating cannabis more and more like any other legal drug or cash crop.
Case in point: Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI), a Davis biotech firm, recently announced that three active ingredients in four of its pest control products have been legally approved for use on marijuana crops grown in California, according to the Sacramento Bee.
By 2016, revenues of pest control services in the United States reached approximately $12.29 billion, but agricultural pesticides face particular scrutiny from state and federal regulators. This June, MBI announced that its products are on the new posting by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s new list of “Legal Pest Management Practices for Cannabis Growers in California.”
“We are pleased to meet the demand by the fast-growing number of cannabis growers in California and many other states,” said Pam Marrone, founder and CEO of MBI. “We have seen the cannabis industry quickly emerge as an important segment for MBI.”
Many Californians are wary of pesticides for obvious reasons. Chemicals are one of the three main causes of contaminants in unsafe food. When used indiscriminately on cash crops, they can also easily seep into soil, which should only consist of 45% minerals, 25% water, 25% air, and 5% organic matter.
Not only that, but certain types of pesticides are prime suspects in Colony Collapse Disorder, which has killed countless honey bees and puts California’s agricultural industry at risk. In fact, many pesticides have been proven to cause honey bees to fly slower than their typical speed of 15 miles per hour, which can wreak havoc on hives and severely damage certain ecosystems.
However, MBI states that their products are unlike any other traditionally toxic solutions, and therefore safe for use on budding marijuana harvests.
“Our products are transforming cannabis production through the reduction of toxic chemicals and pesticide residues that are harmful to both the environment and to people,” said Marrone, adding that MBI is “working with industry experts around the country to develop cannabis-specific special local need labels in states where it is currently legal to market and sell medicinal and/or adult use cannabis. Where allowed by state governments, these labels will provide product use information that is more detailed to cannabis cultivation practices.”
The Sacramento Bee cites the new list of approved pest control products.
“The brand names…are: Regalia biofungicide, used to control a wide variety of bacterial and fungal diseases, and bioinsecticides Grandevo and Venerate XC, which protect against chewing and sucking insects and mites, plus various soil-inhabiting pests. Majestene, a natural broad-spectrum bionematicide, controls roundworms on a wide range of agricultural crops.”
Ultimately, the Davis firm claims that its products are a safer alternative to chemical pesticides and have already safely been used on both conventional and organic California food crops. They say the products are entirely safe for the environment, marijuana growers, and their fast growing number of customers.
In recent years California’s marijuana growers have moved out of the shadows and into industrial growing complexes. And as legal marijuana sales now total $7 billion a year nationwide, the state is well poised to dominate the emerging marijuana industry.